I hear ‘You’re so Polish!’ – I get angry.
I hear ‘You don’t behave like a typical Polish person’ – I get angry too!
I hear ‘What planet are you from?’ – I feel excited! I am unique.
I hear ‘Polish people are lazy’ – Ouch! I get annoyed (as I hate all sorts of generalizations and I am the last person you can call lazy!!!!!! Eeek…)
I hear ‘Polish people are great employees, very hard working’ – Oh yes we are! Absolutely right! I feel proud (forget about generalizations). But… hold on, I know quite a few who are not… Eeek…
I’ve attended a very interesting webinar run by LSIC training - ‘Navigating British Business Culture’ presented by a British person. (Yes, after over 2 years in London I still haven’t fully grasped what the British culture is all about). The webinar was a very interesting overview of what to expect while working in the UK. However my biggest reflection on that was the perspective from which we look at our own culture.
The way we are perceived by foreigners differs markedly from our own opinion, either good or bad, it is very different. I strongly believe it happens because our culture is deeply embedded into us. All values, norms, traditions, behaviours, artefacts just surround us. We don’t get to analyse them to the same extent as a new environment we dive into.
Hereby I am committing to an experiment!
Straight after I finish writing this text, I am downloading “The essential guide to being Polish. 50 facts and facets of nationhood” by Anna Spysz and Marta Turek, a book I saw at the airport in Warsaw a few months ago and wanted to read it since then. Rest assured, whatever I learn will be shared here! ☺